Problem Solver

Sam McNeish
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Woman works to help grandchild overcome learning obstacles

AMHERST - No one could accuse Terrie Brundage of not loving her grandson.

Problem Solver

AMHERST - No one could accuse Terrie Brundage of not loving her grandson.

Her grandson was born with a number of medical issues that created difficulty for him to learn basic math skills in school. He had a brain deformity that doctors found in an MRI when he was five, suffers from ADHD, has a learning disability and also suffers from epilepsy,

He had a lot of problems, His motor skills were delayed to the point he didnt walk until he was two. He had epilepsy right from the start and through medications, we have that under control, she added.

One night, while laying in bed, Brundage was thinking about the questions Shanes friends had about his condition and what they should do if he ever had a seizure. She got up, made a few notes and the next day started penning a book to help explain epilepsy in terms young children would understand.

From there, it was evident Shane had learning difficulties and new and innovative means would be necessary to help him get an education.

He had trouble adding in math and was unable to concentrate long enough to use the current math charts, she said.

So to the drawing board she went and devised a Math Board, a Number Line Board and is now perfecting a Fractions Made Easy program to help Shane and others with learning issues.

In addition to using these items at home, the IWK childrens hospital has a number of the items that learning specialists are using with patients and the Cumberland North Academy is employing each of her innovations.

I recall one child in particular, He had significant brain damage ad was unable to make sense of written equations such as 5+2=? (presented either horizontally or vertically), Gabrielle Dragone, psychometrist at the IWK hospital in Halifax, said.

When I demonstrated the board, he responded with an impressed cool and proceeded to solve similar equations with exuberance, she added.

Dragon said the childs mother was in the room, excited about the quick progress and wondering how she could adapt the apparatus in her own home.

She was impressed with the insight into how childrens brains function preferring to thrive on a visual, hands-on approach to solving match questions.

Karen Curry, a teacher at Cumberland North Academy, said many children have spatial challenges and difficulty tracking a row of numbers with their eyes making addition and subtraction charts of no use to the children.

This board, however, has a physical component that requires the children to place the trackers on the column and row and displays the correct answer, Curry said. Kinesthetic learners find this a valuable tool, as well as visual learners. These are the main modalities of learning. Many of the children who learned their facts just wanted to use the boards because they were fun, which continued to reinforce their learning.

Organizations: Problem Solver, Cumberland North Academy, Math Board Number Line Board IWK hospital

Geographic location: Halifax

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